Outdoor living spaces

As Kiwis we love outdoor living and we love socialising. Whether it’s entertaining a large group of people for summer barbeques, or simply enjoying a quiet, relaxing evening with our family.

Having an enjoyable outdoor space is an important part of Kiwi living. Use the tips and knowledge below to gain inspiration for updating and creating an outdoor living space that you love.

How to make it work year round

There are a few ‘must haves’ in order to create an outdoor space that is usable all year round. You will need some form of shade/shelter, heating and lighting. This will allow you to stay warm and dry in the winter months and not swelter from the heat in summer.

Shades and shelters for outdoor gardens

Shades and shelters are becoming more and more advanced; there are now many varieties to pick from when choosing a shelter or roof for your outdoor area.

You have canopies, shade sails, outdoor screens, louvered roofing, retractable awnings, the options are endless. When choosing a roof or shelter for your deck or patio, you have to consider the style and shape of your home, because not all roofing options are going to suit the style and shape of your house. You then have to consider how much you are willing to spend. If you are after a more low key, affordable option, something such as a shade sail is the way to go. If you are after something that makes more of a statement and looks more luxurious, louvered roofing could be a good option. There are different options to accommodate for all budgets.

Heating options for your outdoor living

Having a source of heat in your outdoor space will maximize the time spent in this area. When it’s too cold outside people tend to relocate indoors. There are many ways to heat your outdoor area, and just like shade shelters and roofing, there are options to suit nearly everyone.

An outdoor fire place is the most amazing feature that not only creates warmth, but ambience too. They create beautiful focal points of an area and can also double as a pizza oven!

If you don’t want to deal with the supplying and storing of wood for real fires, a gas fire is a great option, and more affordable too.  If you are not after a traditional looking fire place, a fire pit is an elegant alternative, which can also be a wood burning fire or gas fire.

A portable gas heater or an electric heater that connects to the wall or sits on the ground is also a convenient source of heating, a lot more affordable too.

Outdoor lighting

Installing lighting in your outdoor area allows the party to carry on long after the sun has gone down. Not only does it create ambience and intimacy, outdoor lighting done right can be quite stunning and picturesque.

When buying bulbs for your outdoor lighting, LED lights are the way to go. They last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs, save energy and save you money. If you are installing new lighting, be sure to install a dimmer system, nobody wants harsh lighting while lying under the stars.

Fairy lights and garden lights are a beautiful way to add interest to the space if you don’t want the hassle and expense of installing new light fittings. Most of this kind of lighting is solar powered, so another affordable energy saver.

Fire places and fire pits themselves also throw off dim light that creates an intimate feel. What a way to kill two birds with one stone!

 

Adding value to your property

Having indoor-outdoor flow extends your home and essentially it creates an extra living area, ideal for entertaining and socialising. It is one of the most valued features on a home buyer’s priority list. Properties that are positioned to maximize sunlight are what home buyers look for; therefore creating an attractive outdoor social space, where you can enjoy the sun adds value to your property.

The money you put into this area you will get back, and some. Especially considering our local area and how property prices are constantly rising.

A few tips for your make-over

The very first questions to ask yourself before you design anything are; What is the function of this space? Who will be using it? And what style/feel do I want to create? These key questions will help you design a plan and are useful to refer back to as you purchase things for your outdoor living space along the way.

Make sure you design the space to maximize the sun at different times of the day, also think about who will be using the space and foot traffic when it comes to placement. You want easy access and plenty of clearance room, especially if people are going to be carrying food and drinks out a lot.

When planning your outdoor area, think of it as you would your indoor areas. What is adding appeal and practicality to this space? Keep this in mind when purchasing outdoor furniture and décor.

Be sure to create a space that people want use. This way you will get a lot more out of it than what you put in. And just remember, if you’re unsure how to layout or maximize your space for an outdoor area, talk to a landscape designer!

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